Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown

You better stop, look around
Here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

I like this period in Rolling Stones history. Between 1964-67 they released some great music. Brian Jones added a lot of texture to this period.

The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards during their 1965 tour of the United States. The song was recorded during the Aftermath sessions. They got the title from Mick Jagger in the middle of the tour.

During the song Brian Jones is playing a lick that he got from Diddley Daddy…an old Bo Diddley song.

This song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #9 in Canada, and #2 in the UK in 1966.

Mick Jagger: “We had just done five weeks hectic work in the States and I said, ‘Dunno about you blokes, but I feel about ready for my nineteenth nervous breakdown.’ We seized on it at once as a likely song title. Then Keith and I worked on the number at intervals during the rest of the tour. Brian, Charlie and Bill egged us on – especially as they liked having the first two words starting with the same letter.”

Mick Jagger: “Things that are happening around me – everyday life as I see it. People say I’m always singing about pills and breakdowns, therefore I must be an addict – this is ridiculous. Some people are so narrow-minded they won’t admit to themselves that this really does happen to other people besides pop stars.”

From Songfacts

There are some drug references in this song:

On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind
But after awhile I realized you were disarranging mine

Many turned on listeners picked up on this, but most didn’t, especially since the lines are mixed low into the background. Over the next few years, the Stones drug use became more apparent, and it was reflected in their songs. British authorities took note, leading to a series of arrests and run-ins among band members and their associates.

Mick Jagger: “That’s a very Los Angeles period, I remember being in the West Coast a lot then. 19th Nervous Breakdown is a bit of a joke song, really. I mean, the idea that anyone could be offended by it really is funny. But I remember some people were. It’s very hard to put yourself back in that period now – popular songs didn’t really address anything very much. Bob Dylan was addressing it, but he wasn’t thought of as a mainstream Pop act. And anyway, no one knew what he was talking about. Basically his songs were too dense for most people. And so to write about anything other than the normal run-of-the-mill love clichés was considered very outre and it was never touched. Anything outside that would shock people. So songs like “19th Nervous Breakdown” were slightly jarring to people. But I guess they soon got used to it. A couple years after that, things took a sort of turn and then saw an even more dark direction. But those were very innocent days, I think.” 

This was one of three songs The Stones performed on their Ed Sullivan Show appearance on February 13, 1966, the first time they were broadcast in color on US television.

Mick Jagger had been dating an English model named Chrissie Shripton when he wrote this song. Theirs was a tumultuous relationship that began in 1963 and ended three years later amid allegation of Mick’s philandering (he began seeing Marianne Faithfull). According to Philip Norman’s biography of Mick Jagger, Shrimpton overdosed on sleeping pills in December 1966 after Jagger stood her up when they were supposed to go on vacation together. While Jagger didn’t write this song about Shrimpton, her overdose drew parallels to the pill-popping character in the song. It was rumored that the line “On our first trip” is a reference to the first time Jagger dropped acid with Shrimpton.

19th Nervous Breakdown

You’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal, dull affairs
Center of a crowd, talking much too loud, running up and down the stairs
Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years
And though you’ve tried you just can’t hide your eyes are edged with tears

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

When you were a child you were treated kind
But you were never brought up right
You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night
Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax
And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane
Well nothing I do don’t seem to work
It only seems to make matters worse, oh please

You were still in school when you had that fool who really messed your mind
And after that you turned your back on treating people kind
On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind
But after a while I realized you were disarranging mine

You better stop, look around
Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane
Well nothing I do don’t seem to work
It only seems to make matters worse, oh please

When you were a child you were treated kind
But you were never brought up right
You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night
Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax
And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax

You better stop, look around
Here it comes
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown
Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

2 thoughts on “Rolling Stones – 19th Nervous Breakdown”

  1. Those were great-underrated years- seems that outside of Satisfaction- the Stones songs you hear on the radio are from their ‘classic period’ and even later- the early Stones were just as good- and I think those songs stand up better since they aren’t overplayed.

    Like

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